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Obama's Transition; Sarah Palin Speaks Out

Aired November 5, 2008 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, breaking news: Barack Obama, the next president of the United States, just hours away from learning the deepest secrets of this country, his first top secret intelligence briefing. He is putting his Cabinet together already, getting ready to shoulder the burden of history, not, it seems, pausing along to celebrate the history he and we just made.
Obama may not be pausing, but so many others, here and abroad, have been pausing, a night and a day of strong emotions, the feelings written in tears and smiles on the faces of nearly a quarter million who flocked last night to the victory party in Chicago's Grant Park, the change written on newspaper front pages now instant collector's items.

And in the towns and cities of the formerly segregationist South, they are more than that. "Obama Overcomes," two words that say so much. There is that and this, the next four years, possibly more, embodied in a young couple with young kids looking out on a country that made a clear choice last night.

Tonight, how it happened, what is happening now, and what happens next. We will be looking at what an Obama administration may look like, how it may operate, and what, if any, surprises could be in store.

For more on Obama's transition to power, here is Candy Crowley.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He was born when much of the country was still segregated, son of a white woman and a black man.


CROWLEY: And there he stood, the next president of the United States.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible...


B. OBAMA: ... who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer. CROWLEY: It was awesome, a moment captured most powerfully in the silence of those who remember when. He was different last night, in word and demeanor, no longer a candidate, a president-elect about to take on the weight of the world.

OBAMA: from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.


OBAMA: To those -- to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you.

CROWLEY: Now it gets real. The man who daily brought out tens of thousands of people to hear him talk was silent Wednesday, a brief wave, but all the rest behind closed doors. There will be daily top secret briefings beginning tomorrow and 76 days to put together a Cabinet, a government, and an inauguration.

Then he has to stand up and deliver, a war in Iraq he wants to stop, a war in Afghanistan he wants to reinforce, a huge budget deficit, and all those hopes he raised.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he can start those wheels moving, to where we can get to where our troops are home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like to see the health care reform really happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The biggest thing that is important to me is probably the economic situation.

CROWLEY: There is no bigger burden than great expectations. Obama tried for perspective in cadence and words reminiscent of Martin Luther King.

OBAMA: The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there.

I promise you, we as a people will get there.


CROWLEY: The candidate who said he ran because of the fierce urgency of now needs time. Given the depth and breadth of his win, he's likely to get it.

AUDIENCE: Yes, we can!

CROWLEY: Candy Crowley, CNN, Chicago.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: There is still some unfinished business from last night, North Carolina and Missouri still incredibly close, a number of Senate races still but undecided, Oregon, Georgia, and Minnesota.

But, by and large, the outlines are clear and different from anything we have seen before. So, how did Obama do it?

Breaking it down across the board, John King at the magic wall.

John, break it down for us.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, how he did it was by keeping a promise. Remember when Barack Obama won the nomination? He said, I'm going to turn red states blue. He said, I will compete in Florida. I'm going to compete here in the South, Virginia and North Carolina. I will have the audacity to challenge the Republican foundation in Ohio and Indiana. And guess what? The Latino population is growing out here. It is the future of the Democratic Party. I will not only contest for it. I will win it.

Well, let me cross the map and take a peek. This is last night. This is Barack Obama's Electoral College landslide. That is what this country looked like just four years ago. This was Bush territory, Bush territory, Bush territory, and Bush territory.

So, Barack Obama, with a sweeping electoral win, has the possibility now, Anderson -- I say possibility because you have to prove it. Now you have to govern and prove, in four years, you can keep it. But he took Colorado with -- running strong among independents and strong among Latino voters.

He came over here in Florida. Watch this strip right here. This is where Florida is won in a close race. This is George Bush four years ago. See all that red right there? There is Barack Obama last night, the reason the Democrats are so optimistic.

And one other quick point, Anderson, one other place he won, yes, they kept Pennsylvania, and he did it by winning in the suburbs, not only in the suburbs won by John Kerry and Al Gore, but picking up suburban counties won four years ago by George W. Bush as well.

COOPER: John, you said that way he won, though, shows that there is not a mandate to go far to the left.

KING: A message that you have move -- room to maneuver on the economy, but be careful.

And let me show you why I mean that. This is the country full county. This is the presidential results across the country by county. Watch south of this line, south of this line for a reason.

This is Bill Clinton back in 1996. Look how much better the Democrat did in the South when it was Bill Clinton from Arkansas, a Southerner who was perceived at a centrist. Without a doubt, the electorate voted for Barack Obama, but still perceives him to be a liberal. And one thing you don't want to do when you win an election like this, a sweeping election like this, is alienate the people here in a place like Cincinnati. Why? George W. Bush carried that county four years ago. You don't want to drive them away.

One more example of this is, we will come over and here and we will look at Pennsylvania, if we can get the man to cooperate with us at the moment. We will bring it back out. We come over to Pennsylvania and bring it out. I mentioned the suburban sweep here.

Look down here, Anderson. We will keep this in green, so you can see it better. He won around suburban Philadelphia. Perhaps that is no surprise. But this is Chester County. He won with 54 percent of the vote.

Just four years ago, those were the voters who backed George W. Bush in a close contest in Pennsylvania. So, Barack Obama is making inroads in communities that not too long ago voted Republican. The last thing you want to do if you want to keep them four years from now is to alienate them with a liberal agenda.

COOPER: All right, John King, we will check in with you.

We're on for the next two hours live, so much to cover today, so much happening, both from today and late last night.

Let us know what you think about all this. I'm about to go into the live chat right now during the commercial break. Go to to talk with me and Erica and all our viewers. And don't miss Erica's Webcast during the commercial break. That has already started.

Up next, our political panel looks at what last night's election did to the Republican Party, the challenges facing Barack Obama, and what we can tell about his administration from the choices he has already made. He's already making decisions.

And more of what it looked like and felt like across the country at the one thing that has never happened in American history before happened -- that and more when 360 continues.



OBAMA: And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.


COOPER: Barack Obama, president-elect.

As for his opponent, John McCain, more than 56 million people wanted him to be president, but it was not enough. McCain ended his campaign in Phoenix last night.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Senator Obama and I have had and argued our differences, and he has prevailed.

No doubt, many of those differences remain. These are difficult times for our country. And I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.


COOPER: His speech was gracious and was applauded by Republicans and Democrats alike.

After all the months campaigning and all the money spent, McCain did not make history, however. Obama did. His victory was sweeping in scope, redrawing, as John King just showed, the political map of this country.

Joining me now, CNN political analyst and talk radio host Roland Martin, Faye Wattleton, president of the Center for the Advancement Of Women, and former presidential adviser David Gergen, CNN contributor and Republican strategist Ed Rollins, and Republican consultant and CNN political contributor Alex Castellanos.

A few moments for reflection before we talk about what happens ahead.

Roland Martin, last night, you got emotional on the air a little bit. I just want to show viewers your reaction to the moment when the announcement was made.


ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Whenever a kid said, "I want to be president, "I literally saw a black parent say, "Son or daughter, you -- you might think to be something else."

I have nine nieces and four nephews. And, when I talk to them, I can actually say that, and mean it.


COOPER: I'm wondering, have you talked to your nieces, and have you said that to them, or...

MARTIN: Well, actually, what is interesting, my wife had told me that my -- we have four nieces who live with us.

COOPER: Right.

MARTIN: And a couple of them came downstairs. The twins are 4 years old. And he had already been declared president.

And they just -- they were simply dancing around, "President Obama, President Obama, President Obama."

COOPER: Right.

MARTIN: My little nephew, Solomon (ph), actually thought he was going to go travel to see him tonight, went out and got a suit out of the closet.


MARTIN: And his parents had to break it to him and say, "Son, we're going to the inauguration, not tonight."

And he started crying. And, so, it's amazing when you hear the stories of these little children who, all of a sudden, how just the mere mention of his name is causing them to get so excited, literally 4 and 5 years old, is stunning.

COOPER: Faye, we weren't with you last night. Your thoughts on seeing Obama walk on that stage...


FAYE WATTLETON, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN: Well, it was really quite an emotional moment, I think, for -- for all of us who have watched the progression and watched him grow as a candidate, really. You're talking about...

COOPER: Did you ever think you would see this day?

WATTLETON: I didn't think I would see this day. As you know my parents, my family, are from the Deep South. And I am a child of the '60s and the '70s. And, so, it's been a tremendous trajectory for me.

And, then, watching and talking to my daughter, who was a poll watcher yesterday, and in Philadelphia for the Obama campaign to help young people come into the polls, and to have her tell how they thanked her for being able to vote, and to be able to vote without fear that they would be persecuted.

COOPER: David Gergen, your thoughts on -- on 24 hours later?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I -- it is sill sinking in, I think, for a lot of us.

But it has been a wonderful day to see the reaction of so many African-Americans. And, for the last few months, my sense, Roland and Faye, as I have traveled the country, is that African-Americans have been walking a little taller, a little straighter. There is more pride. And we can have conversations across racial boundaries...

MARTIN: You can dream now.



MARTIN: People would be debating like...


MARTIN: ... the minute you say, who is going to win, I kept saying 270, black folks are like, look, just the basic number.


MARTIN: People were nervous.


WATTLETON: Actually, David, I noticed this morning that everyone seemed to be walking a little straighter.


WATTLETON: It wasn't true just for African-Americans.


GERGEN: I know. That is what I was going to say.

And I think that, as a white Southerner, who found that those folks who went and demonstrated in '63, '64, '65, and went on buses, and got their heads beat in on Pettus Bridge, they liberated whites. I was a white Southerner. They liberated us as much as they liberated blacks.

As Lincoln said, you know, when he -- when he freed the slaves, this was as much about changing white America as it was changing black America.


GERGEN: And I think that, for an awful lot of whites, this is a time for saying, you know, this is a -- this is a country I'm proud of.


GERGEN: You know, you may not agree with the outcome, but you are still proud.


COOPER: Let's talk about what comes forward...


COOPER: ... Because there are obviously a lot of challenges ahead in what Barack Obama is doing right now.

Ed, let's talk for the Republicans. What is the GOP thinking now? I mean, what are they looking at? I mean, is there a reassessment period?

ED ROLLINS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, there's definitely a reassessment period. And the -- and the damage is very severe.

When you look at that map, it wasn't the map that David and I dealt with when we were in the White House, and which we covered the whole map beginning on the West Coast. We are becoming a very Deep Southern party, with a few Rocky Mountain states.

When you look at the real margin of -- of victory yesterday, four years ago, 39 percent self-identified them as Democrats. Thirty-two percent yesterday -- 39 percent-39 percent -- 32 percent identified themselves as Republicans yesterday, 39 percent Democrat. That is the margin of victory here.

Our party is eroding by the day. And those young people are the next generation. They voted for the first time Democrat. They voted for an African-American. They are going to be tempted to vote again and again and again, until something happens to change that -- their mind. And we have to basically become a catalyst for that change. And that is a long, hard process.

COOPER: I mean, how does the Republican Party, Alex, reach out to those young people?

ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I think the opportunity is just over the horizon.

And I mean that, not just geographically, but, when you are looking at a new global economy. You know, we -- this election was so much about us here in America. We are looking at each other. We have issues to resolve. And many of them, we have.

But, when the election is over, and we look at the world, there is this new global economic frontier, America, in which America is not -- no longer the only great economic power. Others are rising.

And our strength, our opportunities, our security has always been based on our -- on our unchallenged economic supremacy. Are we going to -- are we going to remain that great economic power? Are we a nation in decline? Are we going to compete and win globally? We have to. And, in that message, I think that's our opportunity.


COOPER: Does the economy remain issue number one for Barack Obama in these transitional days?

GERGEN: Absolutely, Anderson.

Just coming in and talking to people in New York, the financial community and the economic community, today, they said, look, the next two or three months, it is going to get a lot worse. There is a lot more coming. This is going to deepen.

You know, the markets were down sharply today. This is -- he is going to be grappling with some terribly difficult issues. And it is a big question how quickly he comes to grips with it, how much he does now during the transition, how quickly he puts his team in place, how...


COOPER: He seems to be moving quickly.

GERGEN: He is moving quickly, I think, but how much authority does he now assert in this situation? I think that is one of the big challenges.

COOPER: It's interesting, though, because, in many ways, I mean, some people describe him as a Rorschach test. People put on to things that they want to see. And the expectations are...

WATTLETON: Are enormous.

COOPER: I mean, I think back to -- I mean, I was in (INAUDIBLE) when Nelson Mandela was elected president. The expectations on Nelson Mandela were tremendous. And not to compare the two, but there's a lot of people who have a lot invested in Barack Obama. Can he meet all these expectations?

WATTLETON: I think there are a lot of parallels between his ascendancy and Mr. Mandela's ascendancy.

And I think that that is the great danger to his presidency, that it will be -- too much will be expected to him, because there are realities that are going to bring all of the idealism down...

COOPER: He was clearly last night already to trying to sort of tamp it down...

MARTIN: Absolutely.


COOPER: ... by saying, look, this may not even happen in one term.

MARTIN: He -- he -- "The New York Times" had a story where he was quoted as telling Valerie Jarrett, his closest adviser, "You know, can I meet these expectations?"

And what you are seeing is, absolutely, the speech last night, laying out in terms of what we may not be able to achieve. But he continues to go back to what we are going to do. He is going to call upon the American people more so than I think we have seen the last eight, even 12 years, to participate.

COOPER: But does every president say that?


No, but I think Roland is on to something here, Anderson, because the -- the capacity he has shown to mobilize young people, through the Internet, and to get these community organizing...


COOPER: This database he has, this doesn't go away?


MARTIN: No. No. It grows.


GERGEN: Ed would know this, but the Reagan was the last president...

MARTIN: Right.

ROLLINS: Absolutely.

GERGEN: ... who had a grassroots organization that made an enormous difference to his governing...


GERGEN: ... a lot of them young, but they were people who would listen to the call. And when he made a -- if he said something at 5:00 in the afternoon, you would have an avalanche of letters and telegrams coming in...


COOPER: So, how does a president use that in this day and age?


ROLLINS: Well, he -- the resources, as I have thought through this, because I have put the organization together, and we did it for the legislative battles, and it was telephones, and it was mails, and when we went to financial donors. I mean, it was dinosaur age, compared to what they have today.

The idea that you have got a multimillion-person list with e- mails and what have you...


GERGEN: Five million to six million, six million to seven million.

ROLLINS: And, at any given moment, you can call on that.

The Georgia runoff race is an example of where he can call on that and go win, potentially, another Senate race. We never had those tools. We had to build those tools.


COOPER: If Ronald Reagan had the Internet, what would have -- what would have happened? (LAUGHTER)


ROLLINS: Ed Rollins would have been worthless, because he wouldn't have understood how to use it.



WATTLETON: He not only has the Internet, but he uses it in a way that is very modern and it's very personal.


WATTLETON: My daughter received a thank-you note from him last night at 1:00 for having been a poll watcher. So, it isn't just...

COOPER: Are you saying he wasn't actually there doing at 1:00 an individual message?

WATTLETON: Well, but she -- but the tone of it.

COOPER: Right.


WATTLETON: And I think that what he has done is that he has set the tone.


WATTLETON: He is changing the tone of the conversation.

ROLLINS: The other extraordinary thing he has is, he has this amazing ability to communicate.

And the failure of George Bush and his father to be able to give a decent speech -- you have got to go to the country, and even though you have got the Internet and all the rest of it, you have to go to the country and explain the crisis that we are in today.

Paulson couldn't do it. Bush couldn't do it. Pelosi can't do it. This president...


COOPER: Do you imagine continuing to see, not only this transition period, but when he is president, these huge rallies of hundreds of thousands of people?

MARTIN: Look, I think so.


WATTLETON: Why not? Why not?

MARTIN: I mean, here's something.

COOPER: No more fireside chat when...


MARTIN: Anderson, when he kept talking about -- I'm telling you, Reagan is his model. He continues to talk about Reagan in this campaign. He has studied Reagan. And we -- we are going to have to go back and revisit how Reagan did it, because he is following the exact same pattern. He is going to call people to arms.

GERGEN: The other -- I just want to add a footnote to this, because it was so interesting to me today.

He is -- he is also very thoughtful about -- about his followers and trying to keep them there and look after them. You know, with most campaigns, as Ed will tell you and Alex will tell you, you know, when it is over, it is over, and you are on the street. And you are looking for your next dime.


WATTLETON: He is not going to do that.

GERGEN: He called his -- he had a conference team with his national team today, and he -- after he thanked them, he said, every one of you is going to be paid for another month, and you will have health care until the rest of the year.

That is -- I have never heard of that in a campaign before.


GERGEN: And a student of mine told me today in class, he said, you know, when I worked for him in the Senate campaign, he did the same thing.

That is a classy thing that keeps your people loyal.

CASTELLANOS: It is not just the same old politics, though, with new technology.

AARP did an interesting experiment, and they didn't -- well, they were doing it a while ago. They needed some lawyers to help seniors with minor legal matters. Of course, lawyers are expensive. Well, give them $30, $40, and ask them to sign up. No lawyer signed up. This reaffirms what you think you know about lawyers.

Then -- what would you have done? Well, we have to pay them more. The AARP -- someone had just a great idea, said, no, ask them to do it for free, and nearly every attorney signed up.

There are things that are more important to you than your economic value, your value in this world, your social worth. Why do people charge a machine gun nest, when they know they are not going to make it? For a higher purpose, for their country, for their family, for...


CASTELLANOS: Barack Obama, when he says, we are the change we have been waiting for...

MARTIN: That's right, we, us.

CASTELLANOS: ... he is empowering you in a very big way.


CASTELLANOS: And with that, with the technology, it is like Churchill in World War II when he got radio.


WATTLETON: It reminds me of the Kennedy years, when he was calling young people into public service. We haven't seen this before.


WATTLETON: And the enormity of the potential to move young people into public service and to really galvanize the country with the kind of energy that we saw last night is enormous.

COOPER: We're going to more from our panel throughout these two hours. We're on for the next hour-and-a-half, all the way through to midnight, so much to cover.

More next on what an Obama Cabinet may look like. We are already getting some sense about of that, the transition already under way, a critical time right now. Paul Begala has been there at moments like this -- some insight from him coming up.

Later, Sarah Palin speaking out about her responsibility for last night's outcome. Hear where she is saying about that and where she thinks the country is heading with Obama in the White House. Suddenly, she is talking to reporters.

Also, what kind of first lady might Michelle Obama be? Some historians are going to weigh in. And her brother talks about the future first lady he grew up with.

So, much to cover. Stay tuned.



COLIN POWELL, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: As I watched it, as I watched finally one of the newscasters cut to the chase and said, he has won, it is over, pretty moving moment. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: An emotional Colin Powell today. He said he does not expect to serve in Obama's administration, but said he would council the next president, when needed.

Tonight, sources tell CNN that Obama is close to naming Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel as White House chief of staff.

Want to talk about the potential candidates and about the steps that Obama must take to make sure the transition is smooth and successful.

Joining me now, Democratic strategist and CNN political contributor Paul Begala, who has been involved in transition for President Clinton.

We know about Obama's chief of staff pick. What does he need to do now? Actually, what does the pick say? If Emanuel accepts it, what does it say at least that he made this offer to this man? What does -- what does Rahm Emanuel get Barack Obama?


If, in fact, that is the choice -- and I'm not confirming it or denying it.

COOPER: Gotcha.

BEGALA: A couple of things.

Rahm has experience in the White House. He has spent more time in the White House than president-elect Obama has. That matters a lot. It is a special place with its own rhythms. He has obviously spent time on the Hill and at the highest levels there as well, the number-four Democrat in the Congress.

He also spent some time on Wall Street. He made a small fortune in a couple of years as an investment banker, which is not bad. But, maybe, most importantly, he's got the relationship. He has known Barack and Michelle Obama for a number of years.

I remember him telling me about this kid, this skinny kid, I don't know, maybe 10 years ago when we were working in the White House. He said, he is going to be the future of the Democratic Party.

COOPER: But if -- if -- I mean, he is probably the penultimate Washington insider. I mean, I don't really know him well personally at all. I have talked to him a few times.

But critics will say, well, look, if Obama is talking about change, why is he having a Washington insider?

BEGALA: Well, first off, change requires actually moving Washington, getting things done, you know, and -- Rahm is very much rooted in Chicago. I mean, he is Chicago through and through. So, I don't worry about that. I mean, the -- the tone of the administration will be set by the president.

And I think what Rahm would convey, should he be the choice, is effectiveness, strength, toughness, clarity. I mean, I just think it would be a terrific choice.

COOPER: is reporting that -- that a lot of folks from the Clinton administration are being considered. What does that say about Obama? And, again, does that open him up to an argument, well, look, if you are talking about change, it sounds like more of the same?

BEGALA: Yes. Well, more of the same would be Bush.

I think most people think that the peace, the prosperity that we had under Clinton was pretty good. But, more importantly, the talent pool was pretty good. I mean, Bill Clinton did a good job of bringing in people, giving them experience, moving them up, and promoting them.

And, you know, this is where you turn. You -- you want a mix. My guess is, he will have a mix of -- of old and new, of veterans and newcomers. That is certainly the way his campaign was run, right? The chief strategist, David Axelrod, has been doing this even longer than I have.

COOPER: Do you see Republicans and Democrats as well -- I mean, Republicans as well?


COOPER: That's important?

BEGALA: That's a very good point, yes.

And I say this as a professional partisan Democrat. Republicans will be very important, critically important, to president-elect Obama to reach out to Republicans in the Cabinet. And by which, I don't just mean, with all due respect, Norm Mineta, the Democrat in President Bush's Cabinet who is the transportation secretary.

I mean someone like -- Clinton reached out to Bill Cohen, Republican senator, respected by the Republicans, a leading Republican in the Senate, put him in at the Pentagon. I'm looking at that level.


COOPER: Do you think he's going to keep Bob Gates in Defense?

BEGALA: You know, you hear some rumors about that. Secretary Gates, he is a Republican, worked for President Bush and his father. But, look, Democrats have been impressed with the job he's done.

COOPER: What -- what advice would you give him? I mean, you were involved -- you were there before Clinton was elected and when he got elected. You saw bumpy road for him in the transition.

BEGALA: Yes. COOPER: How did this president avoid that?

BEGALA: A couple of ways.

First, the most important rule of the transition is, there is only one president at a time. I would say, the campaign is over, sir. And, in the campaign, you're commenting on every move that -- particularly in this campaign -- that Bush makes, right? Barack's whole message was: I'm not Bush. I don't like Bush.

That has got to stop. We have one president at a time. We all rally around George W. Bush now for the next 71 days, and then ask the country to rally around the new president. So, he has got to pull back from the constant commentary of every movement that Bush makes or every movement the stock market makes.

Second, I would point out that this is the longest presidential campaign in decades. The average length of a presidential campaign is about 14 months in the modern era. Twenty months for Barack Obama -- and, for all that time, the whole world has changed, while he has been sealed in an aluminum tube.

So, I would say give him a little time to -- to rest, to relax, to recharge, to read, to think, to pray, to get to know his family again. That will make him a better president.

COOPER: All right.

BEGALA: And then he has got to put his team together.

COOPER: And he seems to be moving to do that.

Paul Begala, appreciate it. Thanks for the inside look.


COOPER: Ahead on 360: late reaction to the passage of California's Proposition 8, which takes away the right of gay couples to marry. There is actually a live protest right now happening in Los Angeles. We'll be watching it unfold, bring you any late developments, including legal challenges to the ballot measure.

And later, the wave of emotion caught on tape as people here and around the world heard the news.

And ahead, Michelle Obama, our next first lady, what kind of a role is she going to play? We'll hear from some of the people who know her best.


COOPER: There were so many spontaneous gatherings coming together last night. At least 1,000 people, there you see, descended on the White House after Obama won. Inside President Bush watched the returns before calling McCain and Obama. Not sure if the president saw the crowds. But imagine he did. The crowds in Chicago, the streets here in New York and in homes and communities around the country and around the world, news of Obama's win was greeted with a wave of emotion. Tom Foreman's here with more -- Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, this really was an extraordinary moment, a cultural moment beyond just a political moment. Presidential elections are usually all about a few powerful people in powerful places, but last night this one came down to millions of ordinary people in ordinary places erupting with joy.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God! This is the best day of my life! I have waited so long for this day! God bless America! God bless -- God bless America!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't say how amazing this is to me! This is amazing to me!

FOREMAN (voice-over): From the middle of the country outward to the coast and over the oceans beyond, the celebration flowed.

In front of the White House in Washington, D.C.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a -- it's a new world. It's a new possibility. It's the beginning of something.

FOREMAN: In a Harlem school.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like I might want to run for president. Kind of crazy.

FOREMAN: In a California restaurant.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: King would say, "My dream has come true."

FOREMAN: And back in Chicago where it all began.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm very excited. I feel like our country is going to move towards something greater and bigger and brighter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel so elated. I can't believe that he won.

FOREMAN: Barack Obama ran on a promise of change. Although great challenges lie ahead, because of this one night, for many he has already delivered.


FOREMAN: One more unique celebration. You may recall President- elect Obama thanked a 106-year-old woman for her vote last night. He saw Ann Nixon Cooper on CNN first. Heard about her story of growing up in times of deep segregation and her pride of being able to vote for him. Down in Atlanta, she is now even more proud. Listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANN NIXON COOPER, VOTER: Things are changing, changing, changing. And I look for more change now that it's the first black president in victory of faith over fear. So don't you know that's quite something to be proud of?


FOREMAN: Think of the changes she has seen, Anderson. She was alive, she was a child when the Wright brothers flew for the first time. Isn't that amazing?

COOPER: What a life.

FOREMAN: To see this change, unbelievable.

COOPER: Tom, thanks.

Still ahead, a setback for equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans. California voters approved Proposition 8. You're watching live protest against the vote banning same-sex marriages.

And before she headed home to Alaska, today Sarah Palin talked to CNN about some of the flak she's getting from Republicans, who say she cost McCain valuable votes. Her take on that coming up.

Also ahead tonight, the Obamas won't be the first family to share the White House with a pet. A long tradition, and the list is not limited to cats and dogs. We'll look at that a bit.



SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT-ELECT: Sasha and Malia, I love you both more than you can imagine, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House.


COOPER: President-elect Obama last night in Chicago. He'd promised a dog to his daughters when he talked to them about running for president. The Obamas have said they plan on adopting a dog from a rescue shelter. Whatever kind of puppy they end up bringing with them to the White House, they're going to be actually following a long tradition, Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: They are. I have to tell you, that's the best news I've heard all day, that they're going to save a dog. I'm very big on that.

But in terms of that tradition that we have, we've got to start off, right, with Barney. There are for many four-legged members who have been part of first families that have become celebrities in their own right. Barney, President Bush's Scottish Terrier, though, is the first truly connected pet. It's tough to forget the old Barney cam, which brought us the dog's eye view of the White House. Remember the Christmas tours, courtesy of Barney? Very thoughtful little guy.

Of course, thought, it's not all about dogs and cats. During the Kennedy administration there was Caroline's pony, Macaroni.

And this may come as a bit of a surprise, but there has been a raccoon in the White House. That...

COOPER: A raccoon?

HILL: That is Grace Coolidge, the wife of Calvin Coolidge, holding her pet raccoon, Rebecca. Very sweet. I didn't know they could be pets.

Back in the day, the late 1800s, that is, Benjamin Harrison had a goat.


HILL: He was known as Old Mr. Whiskers.

COOPER: All right. Well, hopefully, the Obamas will just go for a dog.

HILL: Yes. How about a nice mutt?

COOPER: I think so.

All right. Let's get up to date, "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.

HILL: Well, actually, we begin, continuing to update you on Georgia's hotly contested Senate race. We can tell you, it is still undecided tonight. In fact, throwing off a few sparks. Today the Republican incumbent, Saxby Chambliss, and his Democratic challenger, George Martin basically back to stumping while the votes continue to be counted. If a runoff is necessary, it will be held December 2.

In Minnesota, another tight Senate race. Republican incumbent Norm Coleman claiming victory today, even as the secretary of state said a recount is likely. Coleman leads comedian Al Franken by fewer than 500 votes. That is far less than the amount that triggers a recount in the state.

On Wall Street post-election nerves about the weak economy sending stocks plunging today. All the major indices fell more than 5 percent. The Dow lost nearly 500 points.

And author Michael Crichton has died after a private battle with cancer. The best-selling author of "The Andromeda Strain," "Jurassic Park" and a number of other novels trained as a doctor at Harvard Medical School. He went on to create the award-winning TV series "ER."

Crichton was just 56. So sad. COOPER: Yes. Surprising.

All right, Erica. Thanks.

It could not have been an easy night for John McCain, Sarah Palin. CNN's Dana Bash caught up with Governor Palin this morning before she left her hotel in Phoenix to ask her about the votes she may have cost her ticket, according to some critics. Take a look.


DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The campaign thought you would be able to help, actually looked at your presence on the ticket and said, "I'm going to vote the other way." What do you make of that?

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-AK), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Well, you know, I -- I don't think anybody should give Sarah Palin that much credit, that I would trump an economic woeful time in this nation that occurred about two months ago, that my presence on the ticket would trump the economic crisis that America found itself in a couple of months ago and attribute John McCain's loss to me.

But now, having said that, if I cost John McCain even one vote, I am sorry about that, because John McCain, I believe, is the American hero. I had believed that it was his time, he being so full of courage and wisdom and experience, that valor that he just embodies. I believe he would have been the best pick. But that is not the Americans' choice at this time.

And realizing that, again, time to move forward, move on. I certainly am not one to ever waste time looking backwards, pointing fingers and playing the blame game. I'm not going to participate in that at all.

There are good things in store for the nation. And we're only going to get there and reach America's destiny if we all need to unite, work together and, certainly, put aside the pettiness and sense of partisanship which just gets in the way of doing what's right for the people of America. So I won't participate in any of the negativity.


cooper: Palin and her family left Arizona this afternoon, election '08 now pretty much officially over. All the candidates showing grace and taking the high road today.

Just ahead, a watershed moment that unleashed tears of joy. Oprah Winfrey, just one of millions of African-Americans overwhelmed by the magnitude of the moment.

Plus, the latest on the ballot initiative voted on yesterday. A protest following the -- well, there's a protest right now in Los Angeles -- you can see it there -- against Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage. Three lawsuits were filed today challenging the ban that voters approved yesterday. We'll look at them and how exactly the measure passed. A lot ahead. Stay tuned.



OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: It feels like hope won. It feels like it's not just a victory for, obviously, Barack Obama. It feels like America did the right thing. It feels like there's a shift in consciousness. It feels like something really big and bold has happened here, like nothing ever in our lifetimes did we expect this to happen.


COOPER: Oprah Winfrey very early this morning, telling the world how she feels about President-elect Barack Obama. Just one example of the displays of emotion we have seen the last 24 hours.

Not all the emotions were limited, of course, to the presidential election. There were some controversial propositions on ballots in several states, including Proposition 8 in California, a ban on gay marriage. It passed. Gay rights advocates are protesting the vote.

There's a live rally right now against the vote in West Los Angeles happening today. Legal challenges were also filed in court.

Tom Foreman joins us with the "Raw Politics" -- Tom.

FOREMAN: You know, Anderson, a lot of this stuff is overshadowed by the presidential race. But there were these controversial measures all over the country, voted up and voted down, chief among them on gay rights.

Arizona voted 56 percent and Florida 62 percent to ban gay marriage. That similar measure in California has been called by some. We haven't yet called it, yet, here at CNN. But nonetheless, it looks like it's headed that way, for being approved by people.

Something very interesting in this. This is something that was supported by 70 percent of African-American voters. Very unusual, because not white voters nor any of the minorities supported it that way. They were more about 50-50, 70 percent of African-American voters supporting this. And of course, as we mentioned there, protesting away and court challenges to that being measured out there.

Arkansas also produced a strong vote to keep gay couples from adopting children. So that was the overwhelming initiative out there being considered in many states and it almost overwhelmingly went against gay rights at this point.

Let's look at some other things. Nebraska and Colorado both voted on the idea of affirmative action. What they talked about was getting rid of it. Nebraska said yes, let's get rid of it. Colorado, the vote is a little bit too close to count there.

But again, really interesting point here. Look at Colorado. Colorado went blue. Colorado voted for Barack Obama, and yet on this issue, which swings so much around the issue of race, they are voting or leaning towards saying that they probably want to end affirmative action there. Very unusual vote out there.

Michigan approved the use of medical marijuana, always a controversial thing. But they approved that up there.

And Washington state, way up here, voted to allow people whose doctors say that they're going to be pass away within six months to be assisted by a doctor in committing suicide.

All of these votes are interesting in their own rite. But more importantly, they may give us another barometer, Anderson, of how the country is thinking politically right now. They elected Barack Obama, but this may help give you a sense of the temperature of the country when it comes to initiatives out there, ideas out there, and how liberal or conservative people want Barack Obama to be -- Anderson.

COOPER: Tom, thanks very much.

Still to come, big challenges, great expectations. Obama's transition of power already under way tonight. Late-breaking details ahead.

And up close, the next first lady, Michelle Obama. How she is preparing for this move to the White House when 360 continues.


COOPER: A moment to remember. The next first family, President- elect Barack Obama's wife, Michelle, their daughters 10-year-old Malia and 7-year-old Sasha celebrating last night in Chicago.

Michelle Obama's spokeswoman told us the planning as first lady is only now getting started. Today, she fielded a call from first lady Laura Bush, who sent her congratulations and invited the Obamas to visit the White House. The Obamas joked in the past that her title will be mother in chief and, like all first ladies, she will define the role and make it her own. The question is how.

Erica Hill looks up close at what's next for Michelle Obama.


B. OBAMA: I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last 16 years, the rock of our family, the love of my life, the nation's next first lady, Michelle Obama.

HILL: She may be the rock behind the man, but Michelle Obama has never stayed in the shadows.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

HILL: On the campaign trail Mrs. Obama drew crowds in the thousands.

CARL ANTHONY, HISTORIAN, NATIONAL FIRST LADIES LIBRARY: I think her greatest asset is her natural charisma. Unlike most first ladies, she seems comfortable being in public.

HILL: Passionate, intelligent, independent, this Harvard- educated lawyer says her most important title is mom.

MICHELLE OBAMA, BARACK OBAMA'S WIFE: I'm a mother first, and I'm going to be at parent/teacher conferences. And I'm going to be at the things that they want me to attend. I'm not going to miss a ballet recital.

HILL: Michelle Obama knows the challenges of working parents and has pledged to make their needs and those of military families a priority.

M. OBAMA: You're just asking for a Washington that understands what's happening to our military families.

HILL: Raised in a tight-knit, middle class family on Chicago's South Side, she was taught to believe anything is possible if you work for it.

CRAIG ROBINSON, MICHELLE OBAMA'S BROTHER: It is surreal to think of my sister as being the first lady. You know, astronaut maybe or, you know, first woman to swim around the world or something but first lady? That would have been at the bottom of my list.

HILL: It's impossible not to mention the historic nature of this election and of this first lady, but not for the reasons you might expect.

ANTHONY: I do not think that Michelle Obama would be held to different standards because she's a black woman. I think that she can't help but be a role model.

HILL: Michelle Obama will likely be calling on her role models, her parents, who started her on this path.


COOPER: Has there been much question about the family, as a whole, about their impact?

HILL: Well, one of the things I thought was interesting was this historian told me, as he said, look, I think that they're not really going to be seen as the black first family. He said it's sort of unique in the beginning, and then it's going to fade, just like it did with the Kennedys being the first Catholic family in the White House. All of a sudden, people would realize, "Hey, you know what? They're just like me."

COOPER: All right. Erica Hill, thanks very much.

Coming up next, what comes next for President-elect Obama? Who will be in his inner circle? Some names already being through about. And what is he planning for his first 100 days? We'll look at that. Our panel weighs in.

And get your 3-D glasses on, because "The Shot" is next. CNN's hologram, making history, kind of, TV history at least, which doesn't really count for much. But love it or hate it, plenty of people were talking about it today. How does it actually work? We're going to unlock the mystery of the hologram, next. Pretty cool.


COOPER: A live shot of New York's Empire State Building shining Obama blue tonight in honor of the Democratic candidate's history victory. Let's take a look now at "The Shot." The CNN hologram.

Help me,, you're my only hope. Where is the video? Do we have the video?

There you go, help me, You're my only hope. That's being interviewed via hologram. He was in Chicago. I was in New York, talking to a 3-D image of him. We used the hologram for the first time last night.

Technology was not easy: 44 cameras, 20 computers were involved. A team of smart folks made it possible. I frankly don't understand a word of how it was done. Inside a tent there, you see stood in front of a green screen while the cameras zoomed in and the computer chips relayed the information back here. I don't know how that works.

Here's actually one of the cameras. They're these tiny little things. They don't actually even have a view finder. Some sort of computerized...

HILL: Those are fancy cameras you've got there. I'm not saying that it wasn't cool last night. I'm just saying that it's not the only technology we have up our sleeve.

COOPER: Really?

HILL: In fact, I can do this.


HILL: That's right. I've disappeared. Perhaps it's your dream come true. I don't know.

COOPER: You're like Frodo Baggins.

HILL: Kind of. But not really. I wear shoes.

COOPER: You don't have big, furry feet.

HILL: I'd like to think not.

COOPER: Can you come back?

HILL: I can.


HILL: Thank you.

COOPER: That was cool. All right.

Take that, David Bohrman. They're coming -- they're coming to do -- and that only cost, what, 50 cents. We're coming to you, two hours live tonight.

In the next hour, new details on how the Obama administration is already taking shape and reaction from around the world. Man, what a reaction there has been. What friends and adversaries think of the president-elect when our special edition of 360 returns.